Esther 1:1-4:17

If you haven’t noticed yet, life tends to take many unexpected twists and turns along its course.  As young people we tend to dream big dreams and set a course for ourselves that makes complete sense.  If we are Christians during that trajectory-setting stage, we may even make very godly plans for our lives.  Then, we set out to follow our dreams. 

Many times, as we venture out, circumstances come across our path that seem to make no sense at all.  Our parents become ill and we must take care of them, putting our schooling on hold.  A child is born that has a birth defect that demands much of our time and attention.  A close friend betrays us and we lose something significant, whether it be a financial loss, our reputation, or our trust in the goodness of people.  A world event strikes — the attack on the World Trade Center, economic collapse, the outbreak of war — and everything is turned upside down.  No matter how large or small the “interruptions” may be, we must constantly make course corrections along the path of life.

When this happens, how do you respond?  Do you shake a fist at God and say, “how could you do this to me?  I thought we had a deal.”  Do you throw up your hands in defeat and say, “I’m never going to accomplish anything.”

As a young, Jewish girl, living as a second-class citizen, Esther probably never imagined that her path would lead to the throne of Persia.  In this place in time, space, and history, a young girl’s fate was completely in the hands of the men in her culture.  In the beginning, Esther was nothing more than a pretty face.  That face got her selected to be part of the beauty pageant that Xerxes had assembled in order to find a replacement for his former, stubborn, self-willed queen Vashti.  Esther was caught up in a whirlwind of beauty treatments and cultural training that was forced upon her by the culture that had been oppressing her people for 70 years. 

What could have been going through her mind during this period of time? “God, why have you allowed your people to be oppressed like this for so long?”  “Why have you allowed me to be treated like a hunk of meat or a pig shown at the county fair?”  “Why must I be told what to do by these people?”  “Now that I have been chosen to be the queen, the maidservant of Xerxes, how am I to behave?  Am I supposed to love this man?  How can I be at peace when I cannot even enter his presence without his invitation?  How can I be free when my mere facial expressions could cost me my life?  Why, God?”

Then, one day, Mordecai made a proposition to Esther.  She was to go before the King and blow the whistle on Haman and request equal rights for the Jews.  This act could bring her the death sentence.  By doing this she would be risking everything.  Then Mordecai uttered those immortal words. “Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”

Yes, Esther, there was a reason for all the injustices you suffered.  There was a reason for everything.  Esther stepped up to the plate and acted upon the opportunity that God had orchestrated for her to make a big difference in the lives of her people.

In our lives we may never get to see the dramatic, big-picture reason why circumstances happen in our lives, but we can hold on to the truth that we learn in Esther’s story.  God does have a reason for it all.  It has been said that there is no waste in God’s economy.  Paul told us that God can bring good out of all things for those who love Him. 

Whatever your circumstances are today, no matter how trying they may be, remember that God is in control.  Even when we can’t make sense out of it, God is working His good.  Try to find the good today, and give God the glory.

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